Friday, May 29, 2020

Tender Tarsus Treatment

Yesterday was my first visit to the chiropractor since the COVID shutdown began. He worked his magic on all the achy spots that had accumulated in the past ten weeks. I also had him look at my sore toe. Even though it's much better, it still hurts to wear enclosed shoes. When I do I tend to favor my right foot, which causes me to walk funny. (Which would eventually cause my spine to get out of alignment. After many years of chiropractic care, I know everything always comes back to the spine.)

The doctor had me take my shoe off so he could examine the area. He wiggled the toe back, forth, up, down, and around in circles and asked me if any of the movements hurt. He asked about the bruise-when it started, when it was at its worst, and when it went away. Then he went into educational mode, which is one of the things I love about him.

I learned that a bruise is just a pool of blood under the skin from a ruptured vessel, and that even though my bruise wasn't visible anymore his rule of thumb is that it takes 6 days per decade of life for things to be completely back to normal.(If you're doing the math, that would be 42 days for me!)

He pointed out that even though the main bruise was gone my toe was still red and swollen, a sign that there was still blood pooled in that area. If I wanted to accelerate the healing he recommended Epsom salt soaks and massaging the area to increase the circulation. I got a demonstration of the proper technique, which involved stroking the foot area towards my heart and gently pulling and sliding my toe for several minutes each day.

It could just be my wishful thinking, but after the attention yesterday my toe seemed to be less swollen this morning. I tried putting on my walking shoes, which still hurt. I'll try again tomorrow. I'm not looking for complete healing, but it would be nice to wear something other than sandals.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Over the years I've developed a system that helps me remember my commitments. Each appointment or thing to do is put on a sheet of paper. I add the date, then stack everything sequentially in a letter tray. At night before I go to bed I pull out the things I need for the next day and place them either by my purse or on the countertop in my bathroom (depending on how important it is for me to remember it immediately after waking).

My system has served me well for many years. However, now that I'm sheltering myself in place the vast majority of my commitments have disappeared. I haven't done a good job of checking the tray, which came back to bite me tonight.

I'm one of the sponsors for a group of teenagers who meet weekly. Each week two sponsors attend and serve as guides. Like a lot of things in this new world we're living in, the meetings have gone virtual. The sponsor with the Zoom account 'opens up' the room, stays around just long enough to make sure things are running smoothly, then bows out.

After dinner Hubby Tony and I were taking a walk. We were at the farthest point away from the house when I got a text from the organizer asking if I was supposed to be one of the sponsors tonight. I did a quick calculation and figured out that I was. Boy, was I embarrassed!

I responded with my apologies, and said it would take me 20 minutes or so to get back home. The organizer was great about the whole thing, and said that she would stay on the call. I told her I owed her a big favor.

Tony and I picked up the pace and hustled back to the house, but the damage was already done. All I could do when I got home was send an apology email and promise never to make the same mistake again.

Five years ago today: Gutters, Gutters, Who's Got The Gutters?

Monday, May 25, 2020

Pedal Power Accomplishment

We chose our new neighborhood partly because it has a reputation of being easy to navigate on both foot and bicycle. Hubby Tony and I have done a lot of walking, especially since the quarantine started. Back in very early spring, when the weather was still cold and nasty, we got our bikes serviced so they would be ready to use. Then they went back into our storage area to wait.

Finally the weather started to cooperate and we thought about getting out to ride. However, before we could go anywhere first we had to get out of our neighborhood.  The arterial street next to the main entrance of our community is full of hills. The riders I see navigating them are fit, wearing tight spandex shorts and professional-looking jerseys. The idea of going that way was a little intimidating.

Tony charted out a route through the back of the community that avoids the hills, but depending on the destination that can add an additional 10-15 minutes to the trip. I set myself a goal to master the main road.
(If you turn left from our community onto the street you coast down half a hill and pedal over a short flat section before you hit one steep incline and a stop light. After the light the hill slopes down and then it's flat for a miles. If you turn right there are three steep inclines before things flatten out. I told Tony that one day I was going to attempt the less-hilly section and see what happened.)
I decided that today was the day. There was a good chance of rain after lunch, so after breakfast Tony and I breakfast filled our water bottles and went down to get the bikes out.

I left the condo area first, turning left. Heading down the hill was incredibly easy, as I knew it would be.  I enjoyed heading across the flat area, but knew that my challenge was ahead. Sure enough, the road started climbing. I dropped down a couple of gears and kept going. Halfway up the hill my legs started screaming and I could hardly breathe. It was tempting to stop and walk, but I kept going...and made it!

The stoplight at top of the hill was red, so I stopped to catch my breath. Tony showed up soon after. When the light turned green we look off to continue our ride.

Five years ago today: One Project, Two Hacks

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Mass In The Age Of Coronavirus

Churches in my area were allowed to open up this week, and for the first time since mid-March Hubby Tony and I went to Mass. Things were pretty different. To start, to ensure that the church kept within the guidelines they capped attendance at 150 people (25 percent of their capacity based on the fire code), and we had to make a reservation online.

When Tony pulled into the parking lot ten minutes early there were still some parking spaces available. We put our masks on, and headed towards the building. Usually we're two out of a large stream of people entering, but today the stream was just a trickle. Every door we passed through was propped open so we didn't have to touch the handles..

Inside the church proper more changes awaited us. First, there was no holy water available. Every other pew was blocked off with painter's tape, and more pieces of tape were placed on the floor to reinforce the correct distancing during Communion. There was no missals in the pews, no offertory basket, and no sign of peace. The music was provided by just a pianist and cantor.

Once in our pew we could choose to leave our mask on or take it off until it was time to process up to the altar for Communion. Before communion the priest offered the closing prayer. People could choose to leave immediately, or go back to their pews to pray. Either way, that ensured there wouldn't be a flood of people trying to exit at the same time. There were also specific instructions for receiving communion (bread only-no communal cup). We were to pull down our masks, present our cupped hands to receive the host, consume it, and then immediately pull our mask up before we walked away.

Needless to say there was no socializing in the narthex afterwards. On the way out of the building I grabbed a bulletin from the self-serve stack, then used some of the hand sanitizer that was placed next to it. Reading the bulletin, I learned that they were looking for people to wipe down the high traffic areas after each service. They promised to provide an automatic reservation for the mass and all the necessary cleaning products.

This in-person Mass was much more satisfying than the streamed versions we've watched since the quarantine started, but since Tony and I are considered in the high risk category we will evaluate our attendance from week to week and see how it goes.

Five years ago today: 'How To Make Mistakes And Miss The Voice Within'

Friday, May 22, 2020

I'm In Love....

Wednesday afternoon Son Tony sent a text to the family that his family was one member larger. DIL Ie had given birth to this beauty:

As the mother of three boys (and the grandmother of three more) I'm extra excited to welcome our first girl.

With all the concern over the COVID virus I'm not sure when Hubby Tony and I will be invited to visit the new family in Dallas, but you can believe that my bags will be packed and I'll be ready to go within minutes of getting an invitation.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Who Are Those Masked People?

After I joined Nextdoor I was looking through the For Sale section and saw a post from a woman who was selling homemade masks. Hubby Tony and I had been talking about having more in the house, so I contacted her for more information.

I found out that she offered both pleated and fitted types. Both were double-layered, had a pocket for a filter, and a sewn-in nose wire. The fitted one cost a couple dollars more, but the price of each was reasonable. I could pay via PayPal or cash, and if I picked them up at her house I could save the shipping fee.

The woman sent me photos of material she had in stock. I chose something unisex, then ordered one of both styles so Tony and I could see which we liked better. The masks were done the next day, and the woman sent me a detailed message explaining where I would find the bag on her front porch and where to leave the money. The bag included a small label with washing and shaping instructions and  a business card that listed the woman's Etsy shop. Browsing through her site, I found out that she specialized in fabric and quilted items. Making masks must have been an easy shift for her.

Both masks were comfortable on my face, but Tony decided he liked the pleated one better. I contacted the woman and asked if I could get two more of that style, saying any dark geometric patterned material would be acceptable. This time I had to wait two days before I received a message telling me my order was ready. Once again I drove to her house and picked up the bag on the front porch.

I put one of my masks in my car and the other in my purse so I will always be ready in case I need to run an errand or pop into a store. However, I've been air drying the masks after they're washed, and they're sometimes damp when we need them. I may purchase even more so there's always something available.
Please ignore the quarantine hair...
Five years ago today: Frittering

Monday, May 18, 2020


Yesterday afternoon Hubby Tony asked me to give him a haircut. I agreed. He sat on a bar stool in the kitchen while I buzzed his head with the clippers. When he left the chair there was a clump of hair on the seat. I dumped the stool over so the clump would fall on the floor with the rest of the hair that he was going to clean up. The chair slipped out of my hand and fell on my little toe.

I let out a couple of choice words, then took a look at my foot to assess the damage. The toe was bright red, and within minutes it started to bruise and swell. Tony asked if I thought it was broken. It hurt like the dickens, but since I could manipulate the toe and put weight on it I guessed it wasn't.

For the rest of the day I sat around with my foot up, and iced it off and on. When I went to bed I put it on a pillow at the foot of the bed. This morning some of the swelling had gone down, but an angry purple bruise now covered a quarter of my foot.

I could walk barefoot around the house with no issues. Putting shoes on, though, was another matter. The only ones that avoid the toe area are my flip flops, but the strap cuts right across the top of my foot. I guess until the bruise subsides a bit I won't be going anywhere.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

Plants In A Pandemic

For the past few years Hubby Tony accompanies me on a trip to the nursery to pick out annuals and vegetable plants. He pays for whatever I put in the shopping cart and we consider it my Mother's Day present.

 Now that we're in a condo my plant requirements are minimal.-basically two hanging baskets, one for each end of the deck. On Mother's Day it was still too chilly to have annual plants outside, so we put off the trip, but yesterday we headed out to my favorite plant place to see what I could find.

Each year this nursery pops up on the parking lot of an Aldi in early April, and is gone by July 4th. The "walls" of the nursery are landscape timers inserted into stacked cinder blocks. Inside, more piles of cinder blocks hold wood shelves for the plants that can take the sun, two greenhouses hold the shade-loving plants and vegetable starts, and hanging basket racks hug the ends of the greenhouses. Close to the entrance there's a tiny shed big enough for two associates and a cash register.

When we pulled into the parking lot I saw a sign that indicated they were practicing social distancing measures, and customers weren't allowed inside the shopping area. Instead, Tony and I stood outside and surveyed the hanging baskets from a distance. An associate came over to us and asked what he could bring over for us to look at. I asked to see "the pink flowers that look like little petunias". The associate said they weren't petunias, but were actually calibrachoas. I inquired about the plant's sun and water requirements, which jived well with what I could offer on my deck.

In addition to pink, the associate also pointed out the purple, red, and orange baskets, then brought several baskets of several colors over for me to pick from. I decided on pink and purple. Tony gave his credit card to the associate, who walked it over to the shed and processed the payment. He returned with our receipt and thanked us for coming in.

The process was easy, but I much prefer being able to browse through the plants myself and take my time choosing the exact one I want. Hopefully things will be back to normal by next spring.

Five years ago today: How Do They Know?

Friday, May 15, 2020

Did You Know These Things Had Names?

The cry of a new born baby is called a vagitus.

The space between your eyebrows is called a glabella.

The plastic or metallic coating at the end of your shoelaces is called an aglet.

The tiny plastic table placed in the middle of a pizza box is called a box tent.

Your little toe or finger is called the minimus.

The wired cage that holds the cork in a bottle of champagne is called a muselet.

In a song, the nonsense syllables like 'na na na' and 'la la la' are called vocables.

The condition of finding it difficult to get out of the bed in the morning is called dysania.

Unreadable hand-writing is called griffonage.

The dot over an “i” or a “j” is called a tittle.

The metallic device used to measure your feet at the shoe store is called a Brannock device.

Five years ago today: Fences, Sewers, and Dog Doo

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Nextdoor Neighbor

Last week we got a flyer asking us to join Nextdoor. I had heard of  the company, but after Hubby Tony looked into it he shared that it was a hyperlocal social network where we could do things like read about local events, look for recommendations, and buy/sell things. Tony told me we could use either our exact address or only a street name, which made it feel safer, so I decided to go ahead and sign up.

As part of the sign up process I was asked to give them my spouse's name (sure, why not); select topics I would be interested in following (not, now-maybe later); invite people in my neighborhood (nope-I don't know them); or import my email contacts so they could get an invitation (no way!). Fortunately I could skip all of the questions that bothered me and submit the sign up request.

Soon I had an email telling me I could start using the site, so I spent some time clicking around. It seems to be set up so I can filter by just people in my immediate neighborhood or include others that are nearby. There were people looking for tree trimmers, landscapers, and gutter cleaners. Someone posted a photo of a dog they had seen running loose. There were long discussions about supporting local restaurants and which ones were open for carryout, and whether or not a new proposed elementary school would be a good idea or not.

I already have a couple of things I need local sources for, and I think Nextdoor will help me find them.

Five years ago today: One Person's Trash is Another Person's Treasure

Monday, May 11, 2020

Heavens To Chicken

Hubby Tony always cooks dinner on Sunday. Yesterday, he told me choose a Mother's Day menu and he would take care of putting it together. I knew exactly what I wanted. Earlier in the week I had seen an ad for a restaurant featuring family-style fried chicken dinners to go. Unfortunately, that restaurant was pretty far away from our house, but seeing the pieces of crispy, juicy chicken made me want some.

I only indulge in fried chicken a couple of times a year. I prefer white meat to dark, but my favorite part of fried chicken is really the skin; I think that chicken fingers have the best ratio of meat to crust. At first Tony was going to get the fingers from the grocery store (and make the rest of the dinner from scratch), but they've recently cut back on the selection in their deli department and he couldn't be sure they were available. I suggested that he drive through Raising Cane's. It's close to our house, and they their limited menu only has a couple of items...chicken fingers, fries, slaw, and Texas Toast. They know what they're doing.

Yesterday before Tony left to pick up our entree he made cole slaw and started sweet potato fries in the oven. He was only gone ten minutes before he sent me a text saying that the Raising Cane's parking lot was filled with fire trucks and ambulances and he couldn't get in, so he was heading to Kentucky Fried Chicken.

KFC was farther away, and I was appreciative that Tony would drive the extra distance, but I was disappointed. The chicken fingers that Tony brought home were less than piping hot and their seasoning left something to be desired.

Tony bought just enough chicken for one meal, and told me he tomorrow he would go get what I really wanted. Tonight as he left to pick up the chicken I set the table, heated the sweet potato fries, and put out the slaw. When Tony got back we added the chicken to the table and sat down to eat.

I took one bite of a chicken finger and was in heaven. The fresh-tasting piece was juicy and tender, and the thick crust was crisp and well-seasoned. Exactly what I had been looking for.

Five years ago today: Better Late Than Never

Friday, May 8, 2020

An Unexpected Musical Treat

Hubby Tony started work early today, and so he also finished early. Working from home means no commute time, so by 3:00 he was ready for the weekend to start.

So was I. But there were no activities planned, and nothing to do. We decided to take another (!) walk. Our first choice of a route ended up being a little muddy, so we decided to head in a direction we hadn't been before-west over the nearby interstate, north on the major residential road just past the highway, and then looping back to our place.

The highway overpass had a nice walkway, but it was still a little disconcerting to watch the traffic speed by underneath. When we  turned right and headed up the street I quickly realized the inclines that are so easy to navigate in a car were actually pretty steep when on foot. We eventually made it to the top of the last hill, though, and turned right again. All of a sudden I heard music.

Keyboard, vibraphone, drums
I looked over at the strip mall to the right, which has a restaurant on the end that was closest to us. On a patio just outside the restaurant a jazz trio was playing.

Tony and I decided to sit and listen to some of their music. We stepped off the sidewalk and took a seat on the grass under a large pine tree. While I listened to the music I looked at the parking lot, which was set up with a dining room chair in every other space so there was plenty of distance between. About a third of the spaces were filled.

At the end of the trio's song Tony and I clapped. I saw someone in one of the cars offer a thumbs-up, and realized that there were people inside them listening to the music. A restaurant employee walked a bag that I assume contained food over to one of the cars.

Tony and I listened for about ten minutes then I realized I was getting hungry, and we decided to continue on our way. The restaurant's website indicated that they were going to have several more 'car concerts'. What a great idea!

Five years ago today: Insurance Claims and Action

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Why Not?

Last night, with nothing do and nowhere to go, I was wasting time on Facebook. After scrolling past pet videos, COVID memes, and photos of people's grandchildren, I saw that one of my friends had posted:
Okay, so I need to get something off my chest, even though I doubt anyone pays attention to my statuses. Sometimes when I’m bored, I put on my tutu and a big horn on my head, lather myself in sparkles and glitter, and prance around the kitchen like the unicorn that I am!

This woman has a great personality. I could see her doing exactly that, and quickly liked the post. Two minutes later she sent me a personal message, which said:
I'm really sorry. I lost at the unicorn game and now so have you. Anyone who likes or comments on my post has to continue the game for Autism Awareness. Be a good sport and continue the game, sharing the same post that I did on your timeline. And then share this message with anyone who likes or comments.
In the real world I would consider something like this on a par with chain letters, and the message would have gone ignored. However, I was bored and decided to follow her directions. Over the past 24 hours 25 people have responded to my post. Five of them followed the directions and continued the game. Guess they were as bored as I was.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Grateful Or Not-Fill It Out

A while back I got this daily gratitude pad from a friend:

Each sheet has plenty of room to write down specific details about people and things that I'm grateful for. I especially like the section that asks me what the best part of the day was; that makes me review everything that happened so I can focus on the good. (Sometimes I realize that I've forgotten a highlight until I look over the whole day.)

If the day has been a bust and I'm not feeling very grateful, I can still act as if everything was hunky-dory, write down things that would make me smile on a good day, and check the box I want to mean it. Then hope the next day is better.

Five years ago today: EVERYTHING Has A Use!

Monday, May 4, 2020

"Four Dead In O-hi-o"

A news compiler told me that today was the 50th anniversary of the Kent State shooting, when four students were killed (and nine wounded) by members of the Ohio National Guard, when they fired into a crowd of student demonstrators at Kent State University.

In honor of the day, here's the song written by Neil Young in reaction to the event, and performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

Five Years Ago Today: Surplus and Survival

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Walk On

If you've been reading here for a while, you know I'm a pretty physically active person. But now with socializing nonexistent, one of the few activities that is available is getting outside (as long as you practice social distancing). Most days, weather permitting, Hubby Tony and I go out for a walk during lunch or after he finishes up with work. That gets us out of the house, gets us our exercise, and as an added bonus helps us learn the neighborhoods around our new condo.

However, all that walking led to a problem. A couple of weeks ago I saw I was getting a hole in the toe of my right walking shoe. My feet are really hard to fit. I walk out of the vast majority of shoes, because my heel is too narrow for a medium width (and my instep is too wide for narrow). Even when it’s a brand I’ve worn before I still have to try them on first. That really doesn't lend itself to ordering online.

My solution was to put a piece of thick packing tape over the hole inside the shoe. That worked well until one rainy day when the shoe got wet and the tape fell off. I replaced it, but things were never quite the same. The hole continued to get bigger, and I was resigned to put up with the problem. However, after several weeks of babying the shoe I got a text from DIL Nicole that said:
"I saw these NB shoes on sale I think they're the same ones that were on your xmas list."
Hmmm..... I had completely forgotten that back in December I had gone to the sporting goods store, tried on enough footwear to find something that was comfortable, and put a link to the specific model on my list. I'm guessing that Nicole had set up an alert on the website Slickdeals to tell her if the shoes went on sale and forgot to cancel the alert.

Now those shoes were on clearance for a great price-less than half of what they would have cost in December. This color would not be my first (or second, or third) choice, but they would do. It took me about two and a half minutes to pull out my charge card and place the order. I was not in any particular hurry and chose the free shipping.

When the shoes arrived I wore them around the house for a couple of days to make sure they really fit, then took them out for a trial run. They rubbed my heels a little, but the next day they were good for an hour-long walk. Since then my new kicks and I have rambled around almost every day. Hopefully by the time I need another pair I can pick them out in a physical store.

Five years ago today: Singular Sign